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Hawaii Star Wire

Big Island Election Challenged in Hawaii Supreme Court

On August 6, 2014, Governor Abercrombie signed an emergency proclamation, in advance of two anticipated storms projected to impact Hawai‘i: Hurricanes Iselle and Julio. The proclamation – valid from August 6 through August 15 – included a statement that “the danger of disaster is of such magnitude to warrant preemptive and protective action in order to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of the people.” Facing massive damage from Iselle on August 8, and thousands of Hawai‘i County residents dealing with historic flooding, power outages, property damage, and road closures – some of which continue even now – the Chief Elections Officer determined that the primary would go on as scheduled on August 9. the Chief Elections Officer went on to change the rules of the election (who could vote, where and how) at least two more times over the course of three days. This series of decisions led to the denial of the right to vote for many Hawai‘i County residents. Indeed, Precinct 04-03 had among its lowest voter turnout ever. [...]

Hawaii Herald launches online edition

The Hawai‘i Herald today took a major step forward in its more than thirty­ year ­history with the launch of its online edition. The debut issue is focused on the Primary Election, with a story on the “David vs. Goliath” gubernatorial race between incumbent Governor Neil Abercrombie and veteran State Senator David Ige, as well as a Q&A forum on the issues with responding candidates for the major offices. “This is an historic moment for The Hawai‘i Herald, the only Hawaii­-based newspaper dedicated to covering the local Japanese American community,” says Keiichi Tagata, president of parent company Hawaii Hochi, Ltd. “After 34 years of sharing stories in print with loyal readers, mostly in Hawaii, we look forward to sharing the Herald with a wider audience of readers around the world.” [...]

Honolulu happy hour app taps new beacon tech

Happy Hour Pal, a Honolulu-based startup, is the first business to deploy beacon technology into restaurants and bars throughout the state. Happy Hour Pal is a searchable website and free GPS-based mobile app that allows people to save money while dining out, by locating happy hour specials in their area. Integrating beacon technology will make Happy Hour Pal even easier for users to identify nearby happy hour specials, and provide local businesses an effortless opportunity to engage directly with customers and increase awareness and sales during the most powerful internal promotion – happy hour. Happy Hour Pal’s website and mobile app users can search for happy hour specials by food, drink, time, and location, and easily access happy hour menus and daily specials for each business. Users can share information via text message and email, and invite friends to join them for happy hour. Users can also earn points for rewards when they check in to a business on the app. [...]

Third historic volcano found off O‘ahu

University of Hawaii researchers, working with colleagues in California and France, have discovered evidence of a third major shield volcano making up the island of O‘ahu. Previously, geologists believed the island’s current profile is the remnants of two volcanoes, Wai‘anae and Ko‘olau. But extending almost 100 km WNW from Ka‘ena Point, the western tip of the island of O‘ahu, is a large region of shallow bathymetry, called the submarine Ka‘ena Ridge. It is that region that has now been recognized to represent a precursor volcano to the island of O‘ahu, and on whose flanks the Wai‘anae and Ko‘olau Volcanoes later formed. The team included scientists from the University of Hawai‘i–Mānoa, Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de L’Environment in France, and Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. [...]

Leaf Doctor: UH plant expert launches third app

Fresh from his success with two widely utilized smartphone apps, plant pathologist Scot Nelson has created a new and more technical app, the Leaf Doctor, for a more specialized audience. Nelson, who works at the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at the University of Hawaii, doesn’t anticipate that the Leaf Doctor will have the same broad, popular appeal as his Plant Doctor app. For many of those who will use the Leaf Doctor, though, it is likely to be a professional game-changer. The Leaf Doctor focuses on the finer points of diagnosing plant diseases. [...]

Study: Shorter men may live longer

Short height and long life have a direct connection in Japanese men, according to new research based on the Kuakini Honolulu Heart Program (HHP) and the Kuakini Honolulu-Asia Aging Study (HAAS). “We split people into two groups – those who were 5-foot-2 and shorter, and 5-4 and taller,” said Dr. Bradley Willcox, one of the investigators for the study and a UH Mānoa Professor at the John A. Burns School of Medicine’s (JABSOM’s) Department of Geriatric Medicine. “The folks that were 5-2 and shorter lived the longest. The range was seen all the way across from being 5-foot tall to 6-foot tall. The taller you got, the shorter you lived.” Researchers at the Kuakini Medical Center, JABSOM and U.S. Veterans Affairs worked on the study, which was recently published in PLOS ONE, a peer-reviewed medical journal. The researchers showed that shorter men were more likely to have a protective form of the longevity gene, FOXO3, leading to smaller body size during early development and a longer lifespan. Shorter men were also more likely to have lower blood insulin levels and less cancer. [...]

Deep origins to the behavior of our volcanoes

Kīlauea volcano, on the Big Island of Hawaii, typically has effusive eruptions, where magma flows to create ropy pāhoehoe lava. But Kīlauea sometimes erupts more violently, showering scoria and blocks over much of the surface of the island. To explain the variability in Kīlauea’s eruption styles, a research team analyzed 25 eruptions that have taken place over the past 600 years. Their research shows that the ultimate fate of a magma at Kīlauea — that is if the eruption will be effusive or explosive — is strongly influenced by the variability in composition of the deep magma. In short, more gas-rich magmas produces more explosive eruptions. “Gas-rich magmas are ‘predisposed’ to rise quickly through the Earth’s mantle and crust and erupt powerfully,” Houghton explained. [...]

Bike Commuting Celebrated on Thursday

This year’s “BikeUHM,” the annual appreciation and promotional event for those who cycle and who are thinking of cycling to UH Mānoa, coincides with the University’s Earth Day Festival on Thursday, April 24. “BikeUHM 2014: Earth Cycles” will be held along Legacy Path (near Dole Street) from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. To further enhance the cycling experience at UH Mānoa, the University has implemented Sharrow lanes (shared by both motorists and bicyclists) and free bike parking in any of the more than 150 racks positioned around campus. Coming soon is the installation of a secure, enclosed bike shelter in the Lower Campus Parking Structure and bike-share stations on campus, as recommended in a recent feasibility study for bike-sharing in Honolulu. [...]

Windward District’s Science Fair Marks 28th Year

More than 200 students from 31 Windward Oahu schools will present over 160 projects at the annual Windward District’s Science and Engineering Fair. Setup begins today at Windward Community College, with judging tomorrow morning and displays open to the public in the afternoon. Winners will be announced on Saturday. This year marks the event’s 28th year, and the three-day program is organized by vice principals from schools spanning from Waimanalo to Sunset Beach. In addition to the competition, it offers sixth- through tenth-graders several breakout sessions and presentations by college professors as a way to inspire Hawaii’s future scientists. [...]

Sheet metal roses return for Valentine’s Day

The annual “Forever Rose” sale by the Sheet Metal and Plastics Program at HCC started as a bet over 15 years ago. “An apprenticeship student challenged me to make a rose out of sheet metal,” recalls Danny Aiu, Associate Professor of the program. “That night with a strip of sheet metal I molded a rose with my hands. Today, our students apply their skills by operating a plasma cutter, chemicals and other tools used in the trade to create each rose one by one.” [...]

Hawaii lab finds dramatic shift in Pacific ecosystem

The Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL) has enabled scientists to determine that a long-term shift in nitrogen content in the Pacific Ocean has occurred as a result of climate change. Researchers observed overall nitrogen fixation in the North Pacific Ocean has increased by about 20 percent since the mid 1800s and this long-term change appears to be continuing today, according to a study published recently in the journal, Nature. Using chemical information locked in organic skeletal layers, the team used these ancient deep corals as detailed recorders of changes at the base of the open Pacific food web over the last 1,000 years. This represents the first detailed biogeochemical records for the planet’s largest contiguous ecosystem. This type of sample is only available using deep-diving submersibles, such as those operated by HURL. [...]

‘Voice of the Sea’ TV series debuts in January

A new television show highlighting ocean and coastal scientists and cultural experts from Hawaii and the Pacific will debut on January 5, 2014. “Voice of the Sea” will be broadcast on on KVFE (Channel 5 and 1005) on Sundays at 6:00 p.m. The show is hosted by Dr. Kanesa Duncan Seraphin, world paddleboard champion, shark researcher, and science education expert. Dr. Seraphin, director of the University of Hawaii Sea Grant Center of Excellence in Marine Science Education and associate professor at the Curriculum Research & Development Group in the College of Education at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, has traveled across the Pacific to bring stories of relevance to Hawaii. Each half-hour episode profiles local science and cultural celebrities and presents thought-provoking information in an exciting, original, reality-based way. [...]

Battleship Missouri Screens Special ‘Five-0’ Episode

Starting this Saturday, December 7 through December 13, visitors to the Battleship Missouri Memorial will enjoy a special sneak preview of the ‘Hawaii Five-0’ episode that will later air nationwide on Friday, December 13, 9PM ET/PT, on the CBS Television Network. Titled ‘Ho‘onani Makuakane’ (‘Honor Thy Father’), the episode focuses on the attempted murder of a Pearl Harbor veteran that leads ‘Five-0’ to use decades old evidence to investigate a deadly crime committed within the internment camps holding Americans of Japanese ancestry on Oahu during World War II. A remembrance ceremony using actual World War II veterans was filmed at the Battleship Missouri Memorial. The ‘Hawaii Five-0’ episode in its entirety will be projected onto a large video screen in the Missouri’s educational classroom, which is air-conditioned and located one deck below the main deck next to the Mess Hall. [...]

State blasts ‘American Jungle’ shoot in Hawaii

In response to The History Channel’s new series “American Jungle,” the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), as well as representatives of hunting, animal protection and film agencies in Hawaii, find the series’ depiction of hunting activities on the Island of Hawaii to be inaccurate, offensive, and in some cases, potentially illegal. The DLNR Division of Conservation Resource Enforcement (DOCARE) is currently conducting an investigation into whether several of DLNR’s rules and regulations may have been broken during the filming of the program. Activities such as night hunting both on public and private land, are illegal under Hawaii Revised Statues §183D-27 and Hawaii Administrative Rules §13-123-6. The Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), which oversees DLNR’s hunting program, denied a permit request last spring for the production to film on state forest lands. [...]

Hawaii hosts first VEX robotics state championships

Forty middle and high school VEX robotics teams from across the state will compete in the first-ever Hawaii VEX State Championship on Dec. 20-21, 2013 at Honolulu Community College. The event is free and open to the public. “For the robotics teams and individuals, the state Championship is a brand new event comparable to regional Olympics in terms of the level of competition, skill and discipline required,” said Art Kimura of the VEX Steering Committee. “In this ‘sport,’ the students are using science, technology, engineering and math skills to maneuver their robots in a fast-paced, exciting game challenge to score points. While they are having fun, the students also are developing life skills that are vital to success in a 21st century global market.” [...]

Tiger shark tracking program underway

In response to an uptick in the number of shark attacks recorded on Maui, the State of Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is funding a study on the movements of tiger sharks caught and released around the Valley Isle. DLNR plans to use the results of the study to guide future decisions regarding management of shark populations in Hawaii. Lead scientists Drs. Carl Meyer and Kim Holland report that in late October, the shark research team caught and released the tiger sharks in waters off the south shore of Maui. Eight of these sharks were equipped with satellite transmitters to track their movements. [...]

Student breakthrough innovation winners announced

A team of students from the University of Hawaii College of Engineering and the School of Architecture captured the top prize in the UH Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) Breakthrough Innovation Challenge (BIC) for their Namib beetle inspired building material. “The Breakthrough Innovation Challenge was a unique competition that forced us to think outside of our comfort zones and look to nature for inspiration,” says Monica Umeda, Cloud Catcher team leader. “These competitions are effective catalysts to help stimulate the type of innovation Hawaii desperately needs.” [...]

UH robotic vessel research earns new partnership

The University of Hawaii’s Unmanned Port Security Vessel (UPSV) is a robotic platform designed to support maritime missions in harbor and port environments including infrastructure inspection and incident response and recovery, and harbor surveillance. The UPSV was designed and built in Hawaii by UH researchers, students and contractors. UH Principal Investigator Brian Bingham demonstrated the vessel’s capabilities at Honolulu Harbor today. Rapidly deployable, the vessel can be used to map the seafloor in high resolution, photograph critical infrastructure below and above the waterline, detect chemical leaks or spills, and relay real-time video—all at the same time. This made-in-Hawaii technology can provide critical decision support to first-responders and other maritime security personnel around the world. Interest in UH’s UPSV technology has led to a business development agreement with a global innovation leader Battelle. [...]

Polynesian Cultural Center marks 50th year

Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) opened and began a new venture highlighting the peoples and cultures of Polynesia through entertainment, arts, education, and personal interaction. It was October 14, 1963, when the PCC welcomed its first guests. Today, more than 37 million guests later, the PCC continues to thrive on Oahu’s North Shore as the only cultural tourist attraction of its kind in the world. [...]

Battleship Missouri expands access during shutdown

Starting Friday, October 4, the Battleship Missouri Memorial will begin offering special tour access in response to the federal government shutdown and subsequent closure of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, including a free interpretative tour experience from its pier of the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. “We want to ensure continued access for our guests to see the Mighty Mo, while also supporting the expectations of visitors who came here to see the USS Arizona Memorial,” said Michael A. Carr, President and COO of the Battleship Missouri Memorial. “Our pier offers the best possible vantage point from land and our tour guides will provide a very informative presentation about the USS Arizona Memorial and its place in our nation’s history.” [...]

New surf magazine ‘nude’ launches with app

A new quarterly surf culture magazine is launching alongside a custom, free iPhone app. Co-founders Matt Luttress and Chance Carpenter say ‘nude’ will be “documenting surf stories from the ageless sea… focusing on enchanting art and cultural stories.” In print, the bilingual publication will be distributed at select locations on each of the major Hawaiian Islands. Digitally, it will explore surfing’s elegant roots in both article and short films through the app. Luttress and Carpenter say that ‘nude’ aims to create an unparalleled mobile magazine experience, seamlessly melding the beauty of print with the immediacy of digital. The magazine will release a teaser trailer for a new surf story every Friday via the app. [...]

Hawaii ‘Energy Excelerator’ gets $30M from Navy

The Navy’s Office of Naval Research, under the Asia Pacific Technology Education Program, announced today that it will invest $30 million dollars in the Hawaii-based Energy Excelerator. The new Navy commitment triples the funding that the program operated with over the past three years, showing that they recognize the value of Hawaii as an ideal place for new energy innovation. The Energy Excelerator funds seed-stage and growth-stage startups with compelling energy solutions and immediate application in Hawaii. [...]

Hawaiian Telcom to acquire datacenter firm

Hawaiian Telcom today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire SystemMetrics Corporation. The cash transaction is valued at approximately $16 million, according to Hawaiian Telcom. SystemMetrics is a Honolulu-based data center firm that currently generates annual revenues of approximately $8 million, and will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hawaiian Telcom Services Company. [...]

Design community to focus on homeless

The local homeless population is incredibly diverse, and a unified visual language could help human services agencies and other community groups cross language barriers in reaching those in need. On Saturday, civic-minded geeks will come together to explore the creation of universal symbols to serve the homeless and those who work with them at Hawaii’s first IconLocal. IconLocals are local design workshops supported by The Noun Project, an international movement to build a global visual language that everyone can understand. IconLocal events have been held in cities across the country with partners ranging from the American Red Cross to the New York Times. They have tackled topics ranging from energy to agriculture to human rights. [...]